Chefs Janine Booth & Jeff McInnis —
Stiltsville Fish Bar
Earlier this week, we told you about our spectacular seafood feast at the new Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour. Now, we take you inside the kitchen of its dynamic chef duo – Chefs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis.
The chefs were born and raised in Perth, Australia and Niceville, Florida, respectively. After traveling the world and experimenting with different cultures and cuisines, the pair first worked together at the Miami based restaurant gigi, where McInnis became Executive Chef in 2010. In 2011, McInnis returned to his true culinary roots and opened Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach. In 2014, Jeff and Janine brought southern hospitality to New York’s East Village with the opening of Root & Bone, in 2016, the pair returned to Miami for their 2nd restaurant opening, Sarsaparilla Club (which recently converted to a Root & Bone), and this September, they opened Stiltsville. Jeff and Janine have both appeared on Bravo’s Emmy award winning Top Chef, putting their personalities and talent front and center on a national stage.
Who is your biggest culinary influence?
Jeff McInnis: Phil Core. I worked with him in Charleston and to this day we still use his shrimp n’ grits recipe.
What’s the #1 thing you learned from Top Chef?
Janine Booth: I learned that I have to be more confident in myself and my cooking style, and
not let my nerves get the better of me.
If you could have participated in any other season of Top Chef other than your own, which would it be and why?
JB: I would say the season that was in Charleston because I love the city, it’s food, and culture. It’s such an amazing town with southern charm.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
JM: A fisherman or a boat captain.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JM: Really well baked bread.
What’s your favorite curse word to use in the kitchen?
JB: We have two children so we’re working on not cursing.
If you had to pick one food item to describe yourself, what would it be and why?
JM: Salt, because it enlivens your senses and enhances other flavors.
What’s your favorite dish to cook at home?
JM: We always make sure, especially as chefs, that we cook something new and exciting every time because cooking the same thing over and over again gets boring.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Miami?
JB: I love the fact that Miami reminds me of my hometown Perth in Australia; having
the beach at my doorstep is something really important to me. The blue sky, warm weather, and white sand always make me really happy.
What is your favorite restaurant in Miami right now (other than your own)?
JB: Byblos is always really good.
Describe Stiltsville Fish Bar in three words…
JM: Local, Mermaidness, Tasty.
What is your all-time favorite seafood?
JB: I love Royal Red Shrimp. They’re super sweet and the most amazing shrimp I’ve ever tasted. It’s the closest thing to Lobster.
How do you manage to merge both of your cooking styles into a cohesive menu and dining experience?
JB: We both work together pretty harmoniously to develop our menus. Jeff has over 20 years of experience and has an amazing array of techniques. For me, I get to be extremely creative and come up with some really innovative ideas for creative twists to our dishes.
What’s the best and worst part of living and working together?
JB: The best part is that we get to spend 24/7 with each other. We drive to work together, cook together, and go home together.
JM: The worst is the same as the best part – we spend every waking moment together.